Granta | The Magazine of New Writing

Explore essays and memoir


Clown School

Nuar Alsadir

Political resistance, poetry, self-revelation all spring from that provocative, impish drive to burst free from external constraints.

since feeling is first

Nuar Alsadir

‘The way we manage erotic knowledge is connected to our handling of unwanted truths’

I Will Never See the World Again

Ahmet Altan

‘I was in a cage because a man had eaten an apple.’ Translated from the Turkish by Yasemin Çongar.

Pondlife: A Swimmer’s Journal

Al Alvarez

‘The water was chilly and sweet – cold enough to stay with me and make me shiver while I did some shopping later.’

Tahmima Anam | My Writing Playlist

Tahmima Anam

Tahmima Anam shares a playlist of songs to write to.

Benjamin Anastas | Portrait of My Father

Benjamin Anastas

‘For years when I was growing up, I passed underneath this double-nude every time I climbed up or down the stairs in my father’s house.’

When Denmark Criminalised Kindness

Lisbeth Zornig Andersen

‘We now know that it is a criminal offence to help refugees in distress.’

The Editor’s Chair: On Christine Montalbetti

Alex Andriesse

‘For Montalbetti to have achieved this syntactic ease in French is a feat. For the translator to reproduce it in English requires the capacities of a medium.’

Daddy Issues

Katherine Angel

‘We need to keep the modern, civilised father on the hook.’

Confessions of a Middle-Aged Ecstasy Eater


‘A mind is a terrible thing to waste, and there is much being wasted when one deliberately chooses not to explore the ecstasy of its deeper horizons.’

The Pretty Women of Paris


‘For the last fifteen years she has been richly kept by a Russian prince, who revels in her brutality, viciousness, extravagance and love of brandy.’

Memoirs of an Anonymous Phone Sex Worker


‘Even though Madame Katherine became dangerous given a few ice cubes and I now knew 101 ways to delight using rubber bands, the novelty of my job didn’t take long to wear off.’

South of Nowhere

Antonio Lobo Antunes

‘If you and I were anteaters, instead of a man and a woman talking to each other in this corner of the bar, perhaps I would then be able to accustom myself to your silence.’

War Letters

António Lobo Antunes

‘I’m doing my best to survive all this, but sometimes I feel so homesick that words simply empty of meaning.’

People Don’t Get Depressed in Nigeria

Ike Anya

‘I open the newspaper and the word ‘Nigeria’ catches my eye.’

Chinua Achebe’s Legacy

Ike Anya

‘Who will speak out for us now? Who will ask the hard questions of us and the world that he did?’

A Poet in Cuba

Reinaldo Arenas

‘Perfect totalitarian systems have always been in the vanguard: they modify not only the past and the future, but they also abolish the present.’

Chloe Aridjis | Portrait of My Father

Chloe Aridjis

‘My father has always said that he was born twice.’

Into the Cosmos

Chloe Aridjis

‘In those fervently atheist times, it wasn’t God or his angelic messengers who would come forth from the sky, but the cosmonaut.’


Chloe Aridjis

‘Yet the little white disks with a dent down the middle are no panacea; whenever I take one of these thought guillotines I feel trapped in a grey zone’.

The Tension of Transience

Chloe Aridjis

‘How unusual that April night had been, yet how normal it had seemed at the time’

Best Book of 2008: The Alphabet

Rae Armantrout

Rae Armantrout on why Ron Silliman's The Alphabet is the best book of 2008.

Northern Soul

Simon Armitage

‘I live on the border, between two states. I've lived here all my life, just about, and I know this place like the back of my hand’.

On Rihanna

Alexia Arthurs

‘Rihanna had cut her hair short, and she was no longer being marketed as the Caribbean Beyoncé.’

The Borderlands

Neal Ascherson

‘Here is the forest. Not just a forest, but a puszcza: a Polish word that means a world of trees which have never been felled since the first bands of human beings arrived to hunt here.’

Beirut | Dispatches

Lana Asfour

‘I was determined that this latest crisis wouldn’t keep me out of the country of my birth.’

A Feudal Outpost in Mount Lebanon

Lana Asfour

‘Intelligent, unpredictable, occasionally ruthless, Jumblatt shows that he is still very much in the game.’

A Revolution of Equals

Lana Asfour

‘Women have rights and we’re not going to lose them now.’

Golden Kids Comeback

Timothy Garton Ash

'Hips. Some never have them. Most have them but lose them. A few have them and keep them.'

The Visit

Timothy Garton Ash

‘His language is a little stiff, polit-bureaucratic, but very far from being just ideological gobbledygook. Through it come glimpses of a real political intelligence, a man who knows about power.’

Warsaw Notebook

Timothy Garton Ash

‘Underground groups are called ‘structures’. Some people offer friends the service of their ‘structures’. This makes them important. Then it turns out the structures don't exist.’

Under Eastern Eyes

Timothy Garton Ash

‘They sit around, feet in slippers, drinking wine and swapping jokes about Chernobyl. They have just produced the best journal of new writing in Czechoslovakia. It took about twenty minutes.’

Notes from East Germany

Timothy Garton Ash

‘Like previous re-settlers, the East Germans now living in the West produced works in what I call the ‘Owl of Minerva’ school of literature. As the Owl of Minerva flies at dusk, so they, in flight from the system, made their reckoning with it.’

Our Mother’s New Man

Andrea Ashworth

‘To keep her eye on the cost, our mother set the clockwork oven-timer ticking when she picked up the phone.’

Nadeem Aslam | God and Me

Nadeem Aslam

‘I loved—and continue to love—the pages of certain copies of the Qur’an.’

Where to Begin

Nadeem Aslam

‘Pages five, six and seven make her into a Pakistani, but for the first four pages she is nothing but a human being.’